Ranking Clint Dempsey's Top 10 USA Moments

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 19, 2014

Ranking Clint Dempsey's Top 10 USA Moments

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    In 10 years as a United States international, Clint Dempsey has been the author of some terrific moments for the Yanks. 

    From his debut in 2004 against Jamaica to the goal against Ghana in Brazil and everywhere in between, Dempsey has handed us plenty of memories.

    Here is a look at the 10 best moments of Dempsey's international career.

10. The Game-Winning Goal Against Italy

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    One of the landmark victories of the Jurgen Klinsmann era came in February 2012 in Genoa when the Yanks defeated Italy, 1-0. 

    The scorer of the lone goal was Dempsey, who put the ball in the bottom left of the net after a turn and pass from Jozy Altidore.

9. Fast Qualifying Goal Against Barbados

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    When the United States took the pitch against Barbados on June 15, 2008, they knew that an easy task was ahead of them at the Home Depot Center. 

    Dempsey showed just how easy winning the first game of the qualification process for the 2010 World Cup was when he scored in the first minute. 

    The goal came 53 seconds into a match the Stars and Stripes won 8-0. 

    Up until the game against Ghana, this was Dempsey's fastest international goal.

8. 1st Career Goal

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    Five years before his shot bounced off Robert Green and into the net in South Africa, Dempsey scored his first international goal against England. 

    Dempsey scored in his sixth international appearance at Soldier Field in a game won by England, 2-1. 

    Members of the United States squad that day included Greg Vanney, Kerry Zavagnin, Conor Casey and Cory Gibbs. 

    The most shocking performance in that game was the brace scored by Kieran Richardson for the Three Lions.

7. Clinching a Spot in 2011 Gold Cup Final

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    Panama has never been an easy opponent for the Yanks to play against, an argument that is supported by the 2011 Gold Cup semifinal match in Houston. 

    In his home state, Dempsey scored in the 76th minute to exact revenge on the team that defeated the United States in group play 11 days prior.

    The Yanks advanced to the final against Mexico, a match that is easily forgotten by many, especially Bob Bradley.

6. Early Strike Against Ghana

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    Dempsey's most recent national-team memory came Monday when he scored 29 seconds into the Group G opener against Ghana. 

    The shot was a perfect display of technique by the American captain in a game that also saw him earn a broken nose.

5. 1st World Cup Goal

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    The 2006 World Cup was not one to remember for many Americans, but it was for Dempsey. 

    In the third Group F game in Germany against Ghana, Dempsey scored the first of his three World Cup goals in the 43rd minute. 

    Just minutes later, Ghana would convert on a penalty, and the small glimmer of hope the Americans had of advancing was destroyed.

4. Passing Wynalda

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    Dempsey probably will not catch Landon Donovan at the top of the all-time scoring chart, but he will be able to brag about having sole possession of second place.

    In the 2013 friendly against Germany in Washington, D.C., Dempsey surpassed Eric Wynalda on the scoring chart with his 34th and 35th international goals. 

    The goals came four minutes apart in the second half of the 4-3 shootout win at RFK Stadium.

3. Confederations Cup Run to Final

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    The 2009 Confederations Cup captured the eyes of many Americans because of the play by the United States in South Africa against the world's best teams. 

    After the miracle turnaround in the final group game that saw the Yanks go through on goal difference, Dempsey helped power the team past Spain in the semifinals. 

    Dempsey scored the second goal of the 2-0 semifinal win, and then he started the final against Brazil on the right step in the 10th minute with the first of the two early goals. 

    The United States would go on to lose the final to Brazil, but the showing of the team in South Africa elevated the Yanks to a new level on the international stage.

2. Part in Donovan Goal

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    Most people associate Donovan with the late goal against Algeria at the 2010 World Cup, but it was Dempsey who did all the dirty work.

    Dempsey's run down the right opened up play in the waning moments of the game, and after he fired his shot on goal, magic happened. 

    His shot was saved by Algeria's Rais M'Bolhi, but the keeper conceded a rebound that ended up on the feet of Donovan.

1. Earning the Captain's Armband in Time of Need

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    One of the highest honors in soccer is being named captain of your national team. 

    Dempsey earned that honor in 2013 during a tumultuous time in American soccer. The Yanks were coming off a loss in San Pedro Sula to Honduras, and there were some allegations of discord in the camp, per Sporting News' Brian Straus.

    Klinsmann solved that by handing Dempsey the armband before the SnowClasico against Costa Rica, and he responded with a 16th-minute goal at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

    The unified team then went into the Estadio Azteca four days later and earned a point in a match that propelled the Yanks into a terrific summer. 

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.